February 26, 2023

Liturgy, Reflection, Benediction 2023.2.26


Loving God, as we come into this space
We settle and check in with ourselves
And with You.

We notice we are hungry
Partly in our bellies, but also in our hearts
We all have some empty places waiting to be filled.
May you be the One who fills us, God.

We notice we feel anxious
Knowing that life is uncertain and unpredictable
We all want to feel safe and protected.
May you be the One who keeps us safe.

We are unsatisfied with what we have
Wanting access to more things, more control, more respect
We all have little kingdoms we would like to rule
May you be the One who gives us what we need.

We live in a world with much on offer – for a price.
We are drawn to those that claim we can have it all.
We are part of systems that give to some at the expense of others.

Remind us, our loving and gracious God, that
You are our nurturer, protector, and provider.
We lift our eyes to you.

In the name of the Creator God, Christ the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Scripture Reading

We invite you to hear from the gospel of Matthew 4:1-11

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested by the devil. 2 He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was famished. 3 The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”
4 But he answered, “It is written,
‘One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,
God will command angels concerning you,’
and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ ”
7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, 9 and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve God only.’ ”
11 Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!

The grass withers and the flower fades,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Amen.

Homily and Reflection

Homily Podcast – Naming Empire’s Enticements 2.26.2023

Where do you feel the pull to compromise your values and purpose?

How might the power, perks, and prestige of Empire distract us from collective action?

Where have you seen scripture, prayer, and community used to hurt and to heal? How might this change how you engage with them in the coming weeks?


Let us close with a benediction.

We have gathered here together
And now we gather ourselves to go.

May God give us the words of Life
So we can use them for healing and wholeness.
May God give us the practice of prayer
So we can seek good for all we encounter.
May God give us community within us
So we can hold it with openness and love.

May we take the long way round,
Forgoing shortcuts and quick fixes.
Because God knows the way ahead
And walks with us on the rocky path.
We do not travel alone.

We go in the name of God, the giver of life,
Jesus, the best of travel companions,
And the Holy Spirit. Amen.

[ Photo by Ricardo Gomez ]

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